WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in response to a new Department of Justice (DOJ) enforcement order advancing environmental justice:

“We’re thrilled to see the Biden administration continue to advance key policies from our CPC Executive Action Agenda, this time putting the full power of the Department of Justice behind advancing environmental justice. 

“In our agenda, we urged President Biden to respond to the disproportionate and devastating impact of climate change and pollution on poor communities and people of color in two ways: ensuring at least 40 percent of the overall benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy go to disadvantaged communities, and holding government agencies accountable for reducing disproportionate environmental impacts on frontline communities. We applaud the new DOJ Office of Environmental Justice for advancing significant progress on those two goals. 

“Today’s announcement shows an administration that is not afraid to go to bat for our most vulnerable communities against waste, corruption, and discrimination. We’re seeing the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice play hardball on behalf of communities of color, and a Biden administration bringing the full weight of its enforcement powers — not only its regulatory ones — in the fight for environmental justice. We look forward to continuing to work with President Biden and his administration to advance our executive action agenda and deliver for communities across the country.”

Progressives have long been some of the loudest champions in Congress for environmental justice. CPC Chair Emeritus and Natural Resources Committee Chair Representative Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03) led the introduction of the Environmental Justice For All Act, legislation to trengthen environmental compliance and pollution standards and provide new enforcement tools to counter environmental discrimination; the bill was endorsed by the Progressive Caucus earlier this year. Rep. Jayapal and CPC member Representative Nanette Barragán (CA-44) co-chair the bicameral Environmental Justice Task Force. And CPC members Representatives Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), and Debbie Dingell (MI-12) lead the Get The Lead Out Caucus to fight for full funding to replace lead pipes across the country.

Today’s executive order is the sixth action implementing portions of the Progressive Caucus’ executive action agenda since it was announced in March. It follows orders to: fix the Affordable Care Act “family glitch,” end Title 42, require public companies disclose information about their climate risk, develop heat and wind labor standards, and invoke the Defense Production Act to mobilize the production of renewable energy technology, all of which were proposed by the CPC in the agenda.

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